Reyes hits 1st HR, 3 RBIs as Tigers split with Yankees 11-7
By JERRY BEACH
NEW YORK — Being a Rule 5 draft pick usually means putting in far more time before a game than during it. On Sunday, the hard work paid off for rookie Victor Reyes and the Detroit Tigers.
Reyes hit his first major league homer, doubled twice and singled in leading the Tigers over the New York Yankees 11-7.
“He works his tail off,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He does everything he’s supposed to do and he competes up here just like the rest of those guys. He has ability, that’s why they drafted him, that’s why we picked him up.”
The 23-year-old outfielder, who hadn’t played above Double-A before the Tigers selected him from Arizona last December in the Rule 5 draft for players left off 40-man rosters, drove in three runs with his career-high four hits.
“It’s hard work every day,” Reyes said through a translator. “It’s coming to the park (to) work hard. I’m ready for any time the team needs me.”
Reyes made 22 starts in 99 games before the All-Star break, but has started 23 of Detroit’s 38 second-half games.
Batting last, Reyes delivered RBI doubles in the second and fourth, when his hit gave Detroit the lead for good. He homered in the sixth, connecting in his 82nd game in the big leagues.
“Unbelievable emotion,” Reyes said. “Running around the bases, first big league home run in Yankee Stadium, you can’t describe the feeling.”
The Tigers took an 8-3 lead into eighth. They nearly frittered the game away after Miguel Andujar and Neil Walker hit RBI single. Greg Bird then barely missed a grand slam when his two-out shot was caught by Reyes as he hit the right field wall.